Top 10 Worst Starter Pokémon

Are you still out and about catching Pokémon or has the Pokémon Go hype already died down? Either way, the charming creatures we all know and love get five more minutes of spotlight on our website.

It’s safe to assume that most of you grew up with the Pokémon franchise one way or another. And while the colorful world of Pokémon is filled with adventure and childlike wonder, it can also be pretty frustrating at times. For example when you expect to kick ass with the amazing starter Pokémon of your choice, only to find out that it is pretty useless. Today’s article goes out to all of you who had to experience something like that.

We present to your our personal Top 10 Worst Starter Pokémon, based on the Pokémon games. Enjoy!

10. Turtwig

  • Gen: Fourth
  • Pokedex: 387

First up on our list is Turtwig, the Grass-type starter of Generation IV.

Turtwig actually looks pretty cute at first glance: it’s a weird cross between a tortoise and some other reptile with a small tree sapling growing from its head. It evolves into Grotle and finally into Torterra where it becomes a mixed Grass/Ground-type Pokémon. So what do we have to say about this innocent looking tortoise?

Among the three starter Pokémon of its generation, Turtwig has the best defense stats which might give you a benefit in the early game. After that, however, Turtwig doesn’t have much to offer; it’s a slow Pokémon without any special skills that only gains a second type at its last evolution. We have to admit though that Turtwig can learn Earthquake later on in the game and becomes pretty useful from that point on. That is why we put Turtwig at the very beginning of our Top 10 list.

9. Mudkip

  • Gen: Third
  • Pokedex: 258

Next up is Mudkip, the Water-type starter of Generation III.

The creative minds behind Pokémon have definitely outdone themselves to make Mudkip’s design scream Water type. The fin on his head and tail, the gills, the blue color - they all play together rather nicely if you ask us. Mudkip’s evolutions don’t knock our socks off, but at least they stay true to Mudkip’s Water-type origins.

Including Mudkip on this list is a very subjective decision. After all, some people call it the best starter for the Hoenn region since it’s a decent all-rounder that combines the advantages of Water and Ground type. We just feel like his counterparts Torchic and Treeko do a better job, are more innovative and in the end more fun to use than Mudkip. This puts the blue amphibian on the ninth spot of our list.

8. Tepig

  • Gen: Fifth
  • Pokedex: 498

We are moving on to Generation V to take a closer look at the Fire-type starter Tepig.

Opinions start to differ when it comes to Tepig’s design. Some people think that the little pig is quite charming; others are confused with the bunny ears and the big red ball at the end of its tail. At least when it comes to Tepig’s evolutions Pignite and Emboar many will agree: the fiery pig with the weird costume is not the prettiest piglet out there.

Tepig’s design isn’t necessarily the reason why we included it on our list. Rather, it’s the third time in a row that we were presented with a Fire/Fighting-type combination. It is not necessarily a bad Pokémon - it can become quite powerful if you train it right - but there is nothing special about Tepig. It offers nothing that any other Fire-type starter Pokémon hasn’t done before (and better) and that is why he deserves the eighth spot on this list.

7. Bulbasaur

  • Gen: First
  • Pokedex: 001

Even the original starters aren’t safe from our critical eyes, so it’s just about the time that we talk about the very first Grass-type starter Bulbasaur.

No need to introduce you to Bulbasaur, right? The small Pokémon resembles a toad and has a name-giving plant bulb growing on its back. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Bulbasaur might have a charming smile, but it is often named as the least popular starter Pokémon among the original three.

Bulbasaur actually impresses by being a dual Grass/Poison-type Pokémon from the very beginning. After that, however, it’s going downhill for Bulbasaur. Ivysaur and Venusaur are both slow Pokémon and one of the most powerful attacks of Venusaur, Solar Beam, takes a whole turn to do any damage. At least Venusaur gets to adorn the covers of both Pokémon Green and Pokémon LeafGreen as a game mascot which might help Bulbasaur get over the fact that it’s the seventh choice for our list.

6. Fennekin

  • Gen: Sixth
  • Pokedex: 653

Time to go back to more recent times with Fennekin, the Fire-type starter Pokémon of Generation VI.

Fennekin’s design is not too bad, we have to say. True, some people are put off by the dark-red hair growing out of Fennekin’s ears, but that comes down to personal preference. After its first evolution, Fennekin gets up on two legs and turns into an eerie wizard/fox creature.

The main reason why we included Fennekin on this list is its limited movepool which can make the beginning of the game rather one-sided. We have to admit though that Fennekin’s final evolution Delphox is pretty impressive. Its dual Fire/Psychic type is creative, to say the least, and it has more than just a few powerful attacks up its sleeve. Before you get to that point, though, you have to make do with an unspectacular little fox; that is why we put Fennekin in sixth place.

5. Oshawott

  • Gen: Fifth
  • Pokedex: 501

Tepig isn’t the only starter we have to criticize in Generation V; the Water starter Oshawott, too, has more than just a few shortcomings.

Oshawott’s design was most likely inspired by some kind of sea otter which, fair enough, makes him look pretty cute. After that Oshawott seems to go through an existential crisis since its evolution Dewott is a weird blue cat wearing scallop pants and its final form Samurott is a sea lion with white whiskers.

Oshawott never receives a secondary type and therefore remains a true Water-type Pokémon throughout the game. Further, there is nothing Oshawott does that other Pokémon couldn’t do better. Its movepool can convince neither us nor avid Pokémon fans and you are probably better off catching another, more powerful Water-type Pokémon during the game. Sorry, Oshawott, but you are number five on our list.

4. Snivy

  • Gen: Fifth
  • Pokedex: 495

After Tepig and Oshawott it’s time to talk about - you’ve guessed it - the third member of this trio, Snivy.

We like to think of Snivy as the diva of Generation V; with its pointy nose, slender built, and squinted eyes it constantly seems to judge you. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though and at least makes Snivy stand out from the usual run-of-the-mill designs. So what do we have to criticize about this leafy gecko?

Let us first clarify that we are not saying that Generation V is completely terrible; its starters simply cannot convince us when compared to other generations. Snivy, in particular, isn’t very useful with its low offensive stats and very limited movepool. Snivy’s defense stats might be good, but you won’t get very far by simply withstanding attacks. Snivy is too passive and defense-focused in our eyes; that is why we ranked it as our fourth choice.

3. Piplup

  • Gen: Fourth
  • Pokedex: 393

We have entered our Top 3 and no other Pokémon would be more suitable to start with than Piplup.

The Water-type starter of Generation IV is without a doubt one of the cutest starters out there. The disproportionally big head, small body, short wings and tiny feet - we cannot say that Piplup isn’t adorable. At least from its first evolution Prinplup though, this starts to change and the tiny creature turns into a cosplaying penguin.

Similar to its Grass-type counterpart Turtwig, Piplup only gains a second Type (Steel) at its last evolution. Until then you have to make ends meet with an exclusive Water-type Pokémon. Also, it seems that more effort was put into making Piplup look adorable rather than making it a powerful fighter. Its stats aren’t that impressive and Piplup barely has anything to bring to the table that you haven’t seen before.

2. Cyndaquil

  • Gen: Second
  • Pokedex: 155

We are going back once more to the sweet, sweet beginnings of Pokémon to talk about the Generation II Fire starter Cyndaquil.

Cyndaquil might best be described as a rodent with a long, pointy nose and fire burning on its back. That’s about as much as we can say about Cyndaquil since its design stays almost unchanged throughout its evolutions. As Quilava, this Pokémon finally manages to open its eyes and by the time of its final evolution Typhlosion you have an evil-looking badger on fire.

What really put us off was the fact that even at its final evolution Cyndaquil does not have a secondary type. It’s the only Fire starter like that and makes us wonder what exactly we are supposed to be impressed by. Cyndaquil’s design, too, is more than sub-par and barely changes over the course of its evolutions. All in all, Cyndaquil is a snoozefest that is easily forgotten in the ocean of other starter Pokémon out there.

1. Chikorita

  • Gen: Second
  • Pokedex: 152

It’s time for our final choice, the worst starter Pokémon of them all. In our opinion, that is no other than Chikorita, the Grass-type starter of Generation II.

What can we say about Chikorita’s design? Not much, unfortunately, since we aren’t even sure which animal it is supposed to resemble. All we can say is that it’s a green Pokémon with a huge leaf sitting on top of its head and buds growing along its neck. Chikorita’s evolutions don’t look any better in our eyes (sorry to all Chikorita fans out there) since they simply swap the huge green leaf for different forms of vegetation.

Chikorita might be the most difficult starter Pokémon to use in the early game. The first couple of gyms you’ll encounter make you wish you’d chosen a different starter and it doesn’t get much better after that; Chikorita barely learns any useful moves and cannot overcome its low offensive stats. Chikorita is one of the few starters that make your life more difficult rather than easier and that is why we simply had to put it as our top choice.

Final Thoughts

This brings us to the end of today’s article. Let us just mention at this point that we didn’t mean to step on anyone’s toes, but rather present you with our personal opinions. Whether you agree or disagree, leave a comment down below and let us know what you think. Which Pokémon are the worst starters in your opinion?

Your input is, as always, more than welcome.

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Author: Cornelia Wagner

Coffee enthusiast, world traveler and writer at heart. Left Europe to live and study in the insanity called Tokyo.

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